Originally from Belfast, Reggie worked and coached Belfast Deaf United from 2009 where he achieved great success with the team; winning the British deaf cup three times. Reggie relocated to Newcastle to work as the Disability Football Coordinator for Newcastle United Foundation. Reggie has been leading the delivery and coordination of Newcastle United Foundation’s DSActive team since its inception in 2012. The sessions have gone from strength to strength and the team have been involved in a growing number of monthly football tournaments and events over the past couple of years. They also attended the annual National Football Festival at St Georges Park.
The DSActive team sessions are amongst Reggie’s favourite throughout the week. There are many aspects of the sessions that Reggie enjoys: seeing each player fully engaged with the activity, witnessing every individual develop their technical, social and physical skills and the fantastic support from the parents of the DSActive team members.
Ultimately, if the players are enjoying their football, then Reggie is enjoying it!
Just like any team, Reggie can see that the only challenges faced during the sessions are related to the technical football skills. With good coaching and regular practice any player will master the techniques. He says, “They all enjoy playing and that is what we set out to achieve when we play. The group always listen to what we require them to do.”
Reggie has a number of proud memories of his time with the DSActive team so far: Shortly after the sessions started, Newcastle United FC first team visited and played alongside the DSActive players – a truly memorable experience for everyone. Another triumph occurred only four weeks after the launch of the DSActive team: they attended the annual National Festival and managed to bring the trophy back to the North East! It was an exceptional achievement for the both the DSActive team and their coaches.
Reggie is achieving many of his ambitions for the Newcastle United Foundation DSActive team: on 21 March 2015 (on World Down Syndrome Day) Arsenal DSActive team travelled to Newcastle to play against Newcastle DSActive team. Both sides followed their match by watching the first teams lock horns in the Premier League at St James’ Park.
Reggie recently received an award for North East Coach of the year; an award that reflects the outstanding work Reggie has done within coaching and community development. Reggie says,“The award is first and foremost a really personal achievement, however it does recognise our Newcastle United Foundation and the hard working and dedicated group of coaches in Football Development in the North East.”